By Doug Coleman FITZ JOHN PORTER, SCAPEGOAT Fitz John Porter is a hero you have never heard of. In 1861-62, he was what the Union needed – a general officer with more competence than ego. Born in New Hampshire in 1822, he graduated West Point in 1845, just in time for the Mexican War. He […]

Traitor’s Hill

By Doug Coleman TRAITOR’S HILL Samuel Cooper was born in New York in 1898, the son of a revolutionary serving as a major in Knox’s artillery. He died on Cooper’s Hill a Virginian and the highest ranking officer in the Confederate army, senior even to Lee. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at age 14, […]

Mosby’s Confederacy

By Doug Coleman MOSBY’S CONFEDERACY Anyone driving around in the Warrenton and Middleburg area has probably seen the signs letting them know they are in the “Mosby Heritage Area.” Once known as “Mosby’s Confederacy” it was made up of Loudoun, Fairfax, Fauquier, Clark, Warren and Prince William County. So, who was Mosby? John Singleton Mosby […]

Blockading the Potomac

BLOCKADING THE POTOMAC By Doug Coleman On of the immediate problems presented to newly seceded Virginia was to secure her waterways from Federal incursion. The first shots fired in Virginia were at the little-known battle of Gloucester Point on the York River. The Confederates were in the process of constructing a fort there, which when […]

Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate Badass

By Doug Coleman NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST, CONFEDERATE BADASS In the course of making his iconic series on the Civil War, Ken Burns interviewed historian Shelby Foote. Foote recalled Nathan Bedford Forrest as quite the compelling character, stating, ” I think the war produced two authentic geniuses. One of them was [Nathan Bedford Forrest]. The other […]

Saving Appomattox

CIVIL DISCOURSE By Doug Coleman SAVING APPOMATTOX On June 17, 2015, an angry racist punk named Dylann Roof shot and killed nine African-Americans at a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina; he left one more wounded. Roof liked to post selfies posing with the Confederate flag, which in his […]

Civil War Artillery Day at Fort Ward

Civil War Artillery Day at Fort Ward   Learn about the role and equipment of Civil War artillerymen in the Defenses of Washington on Saturday, September 10, when Fort Ward Museum presents Civil War Artillery Day.  This free living history program is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will appeal to Civil War enthusiasts of all […]


STONE COLD KILLERS By Doug Coleman In Ambrose Bierce’s short story One of the Missing, we have a hint of how Civil War soldiers felt about snipers.   Bierce fought for the Union and speaks first-hand. The subject of the story is a Union scout sent out to reconnoiter retreating Confederates. I won’t spoil the story […]

Fort Worth

CIVIL DISCOURSE By Doug Coleman FORT WORTH Most Alexandrians are familiar with Fort Ward, but fewer are aware that Alexandria was protected by nine other forts and many smaller batteries.  The first was Fort Ellsworth, constructed on Shuter’s Hill after the occupation of Alexandria in May of 1861 and named after the first Union combat […]


By Doug Coleman The Civil War was America’s bloodiest conflict; about as many died in the Civil War as all of our other wars combined. Typically the dead were buried on the battlefield where they fell in shallow graves; visiting the Manassas battlefield a week after the first fight, Vaucluse’s Constance Cary commented upon the […]